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Monday, March 31, 2008

What Your Kitchen Ingredients Say About You

What are the top cooking ingredients that you have in your kitchen? The staples. The have-tos. Hubby informed me the other night that these are mine:

1. Orange juice (it goes in everything!)
2. Balsamic vinegar
3. Brown sugar
4. Red chili flakes
5. Fresh cracked black pepper
6. Garlic

And that's a perfect introduction to a recent meal that, I must say, was absolutely delicious. Again, I'm really into the art of cooking, not so much the science. So don't get caught up in the minute measurements or exactly how much of anything is required. Make it your own. Revise and revamp to create your own culinary delight!

Pan Fried Chicken with White Wine, Apples, Onions, and Tomatoes

Soak boneless, skinless chicken breasts (I use tenderloins) in white wine, garlic, pepper, salt for an hour or two. Bread in seasoned flour and pan fry in medium hot skillet with olive oil until browned nicely on both sides. Add chopped apple, onion, and canned or fresh diced tomatoes along with more white wine, garlic, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and then lower to simmer until it's all cooked...maybe 30-45 minutes. I served this alongside Trader Joe's Multigrain Pilaf which, if you haven't tried it, is amazingly good in flavor and full of protein and fiber. It's microwavable in 2 minutes. I served it alongside:

Crispy Baked Asparagus Spears

Add flour, seasoned bread crumbs, dash of cayenne pepper, season salt, garlic powder to a bowl. Spray asparagus spears with olive oil, roll in flour mixture and place on greased foil-lined baking sheet. Bake at 425 or so for around 20 minutes, until tender. If more crisping/browning is needed, you may need to broil just for a minute to make them nice and brown.

It was one fantastic meal, if you don't mind my saying so. And I'm all about good food outside of mainstream, chain restaurants. If we get the chance to hit up our local mom and pop restaurant, we do it. We are less and less about national chains. Overpriced and mediocre, at best. Why waste your money?

Friday, March 28, 2008

Show Off Your Ink

. Show off your ink, kids! These are my two....for now. I came to the full conclusion that I could live with the promotion of peace and equal rights for the rest of my life and didn't mind having them permanently etched on my skin. If you aren't familiar with it, the equal sign is from the Human Rights Campaign, a giant promoter of equal rights for all humans. I've had people ask me if it's an electrical plug! And the peace sign is 50 years old this year -- and we need it now more than ever. So, show off your tattoos .... tell us about them. Post a link to your pics so we can all enjoy. (And my sincere apologies for the poor picture quality in the one pic.)

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Frank Dandy Has Come to Live With Us

There are two new additions to our household. Their names are both Frank. Frank Dandy. I picked them up at TopDrawers in Vancouver, BC, during our recent holiday. Frank was one of many choices. He and his brother just seemed right. Not that any of the others would have been wrong, mind you. It's just that my pocketbook wasn't that deep. So, if you're ever in Vancouver, you'll want to make a stop by TopDrawers located at 1030 Denman Street, near the heart of the gay mecca. Plus, they do mail order too! There are numerous restaurants and other shops nearby to occupy a fair amount of your time. Along with a fantastic walk along English Bay. It's a great way to usurp your time. Oh, and if you're really into it, you can check out Topdrawers Underwear at their blog.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Guess Who'll Be Free Tomorrow??

Guess who'll be free tomorrow morning? Yuppers, you guess it! The news came last night. Her obligation has been served but she faces a very long road ahead -- perhaps even more tough than the last four months. So, on this the first full week of Spring, and in the first few days following Easter, I wish her all of the happiness, peace, and determination she needs. And you should have seen my niece's eyes this morning as she found out about it. You know those Master Card commercials? It was truly Priceless.

After the Eastermath

What a weekend with our beautiful niece. In a feeble attempt to not go into all of it (because you'd be here all day long), I'll just do a quick run through -- so, start your engines! Dinner at Cha Cha Cha (Mexican food, one of our very favorites); breakfast at Milo's on Broadway; facial/makeup session at the Bobbi Brown Counter at Nordstrom; shopping spree at Wet Seal at Lloyd Center; egg dying and dinner at our good friend's home; the most amazing Easter church service (yes, gay people do go to church) you've ever encountered complete with original music compositions written for the organ and trumpet; Easter dinner at our house complete with homemade quiche (yes, real men do eat it), citrus asparagus and beans, and strawberry-almond cream cake; time around the piano singing and being silly; ride on Max to downtown (remember, Portland has one of the best transportation systems in the country); time at Powell's, the largest bookstore on the West coast; lunch at Hotlips Pizza; obligatory stop at Abercrombie & Fitch (for her, not me); and dinner at our favorite Thai place. And so, this morning I'll put her on an airplane back home. She's a doll. A real trooper in this nutty world of ups and downs.

My back is better but I'm not sure if it's from the cortisone shot or not. Simply, I think that time has allowed it to heal some. It's been a struggle or seven years or so. Plus, when you get old, that's just part of the package deal!

I can't believe that it's already the last week of March. I guess we'll forever be saying "I can't believe how fast time flies....." Do you ever feel like you're wasting time, or letting things pass in front of you that you should be taking advantage of, or wishing that things were different than they are? I mean, for some of us, we're definitely at mid-life. The run is close to half over. Now, that's a pretty thought, isn't it? I have no regrets. But I definitely want to be sure I'm grabbing every opportunity that presents itself. I hope you will too.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Mish-Mash For Mid-March

Well, it happened. My first cortisone shot. Yesterday. I'd heard bits of not-so-pretty stories about getting poked (and not in a good way). My lower back has been a mess for about five days now and off and on for six or seven years. The shot helped a bit. But not completely. I've been sleeping with those pain patches on my lower back along with a nice bout of Flexerill and Vicodin. I have a sinking feeling that my lower-back pain will be with me for the second half of my life. Which begins.......now.

Our beautiful niece arrives Friday for her very first visit by herself. And her first airplane ride by herself. She's 12 and quite a nice young lady. We're looking forward to treating her to a little shopping time, Easter egg dying, a nice dinner out, and just a bit of time for her to breathe a little after the hell she's gone through.

It was 14 years ago today that my father died. It's one of those days that you don't soon forget. I loved him so much. He taught me many lessons about how to live my life. With smiles, good attitudes, and hard work. I'm afraid I've got a lot to live up to. If you're totally bored and need a real tear-jerker or new perspective, check out the series that I did one year ago to him. I swear, I still remember his lessons and the way he lived out his life today. What an impact! I often wonder if I'm making the same one on my own world. I'm afraid I've got work to do.

Spring begins tomorrow. I do have to say, I've enjoyed this winter quite a bit. There's just something enticing about the dark trunks of trees and their squiggly branches against a dark gray winter sky. And the quietness of the earth. Without the revelry of warm days and easy weather. I know that many of you are seriously ready for even one day without snow piled up deep. It's been a long winter for many. Today is as good as any to start over. Fresh commitment to a family member or friend, new energy for the projects that seem to always be on the back burner of life. Believe me, I'm right there with you. And, so, we begin a new season. I wonder what it will hold.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Feelin' Any Better ??

Feelin' any better today than you were five years ago about the Iraq War? Tomorrow, March 15, 2008, marks the 5th anniversary of its beginning. Have we got our $1.3 trillion dollars out of it? Do you think it's worth the steady increase in the number of people on poverty levels every year since 2001? How about the 60,000+ Iraqi citizens who have died (the US military doesn't actually keep count of those it kills there). Or how about the close to 4,000 US military folks killed in the line of duty? Oh, but here's a precious fact: 78.4% of the United States claims to be a Christian. Something isn't quite adding up for me.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

The Boy In the Picture

The young man in the picture at the top of my site this month was 25 years old. He was at either Lake Louise or Moraine Lake, both in Alberta. Traveling in the 1977 Datsun 200SX....for which he paid $3,995. It was a great little car. The sucker was loaded down with a cooler full of food, sleeping bags, a tent, lawn chairs, a backpack full of clothes and -- you'll never believe it -- a pistol under the front seat. It was my to-be father in law's. He wouldn't let his daughter nor I go anywhere without it. So, we hauled it back and forth across the Canadian border not even knowing about handgun laws in Canada. For god's sake...I'm a criminal...in a Datsun! We stayed in a giant campground at Lake Louise right by the Bow River and the Trans Canada Railway. We visited the Columbia Ice Fields too (the headwaters of the Columbia River which I now live only one mile from!). The water in these lakes and rivers is some of the coldest on earth. And gray colored with sediment from the mountains. I have no idea where the Indiana muscle-shirt came from or why I would be wearing it. I imagine that it did two things for me: (1) Made me think I had muscles to show off and (2) Made me think I was at least partially straight by having "Indiana" across the front of it. It did neither. And the shorts? Who the hell knows. They were made out of that lightweight parachute material with a velcro tab to keep them together and a little rope thingy-ma-jig around the waistband. Nope, nobody knew. This was three years before I actually married her. I didn't have it figured out then anymore than I did later, quite frankly. And that haircut? Who knows. But I do know it had a sassy little pony tail in the back.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Grandma Taught Me To Take It Like A Cowboy

Grandma taught me many things in my life. An amazing woman, she was. Truly not once did I ever hear her speak ill of someone else. No negative. No bad attitudes. No nothing. She was amazing. She also taught me how to take my coffee like a man. A cowboy, to be exact. We'd occasionally spend the night with her. She'd wrap her newly-done hairdo up in toilet paper, pin the paper in with bobby pins, and put her head down on her silky smooth pillowcase that was supposed to keep her hair from getting messed up at night. In the morning, she'd fire up the wood stove in the kitchen (she never lived in a house with central heating) and make us Cowboy Coffee. I had no idea what it was. Except that it was loaded with sugar and milk. I think it was evaporated milk or condensed milk or something. Sweet and milky, it was. And it was served in a little yellow plastic cup with a cowboy on the back of a horse on the side of it. The handle on the cup was formed out of the cowboy's lasso. And that's how I came to drink my coffee with milk and sugar. How do you like yours? Black? White? Sweet?

This being a new parent has taken a serious toll on my blog reading and surfing the internet free time. I've definitely had to revamp my timing, posting time frame, etc.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Did You Know That You're a Predator?

Did you know that many of you are predators to prey upon our wives and daughters in public places. It's for real! Just ask the folks over at this site. I'd say they need some serious comments on their post, wouldn't you? 1-2-3....go for it! Comment away....here and on their site. What a pile of crap complete with a major amount of continued Fear Factor. Like a bunch of children running around with these voices in their heads. I must have missed that day in The Gay Agenda 101 that taught me how to prey on wives and daughters. This post came from my friend over at Burning or Building Bridges in the Community. Oh, and when you're over at the conservative site, don't forget to note the "Stop Hate Crimes Now" section in their right-hand side bar. (Que: Nausea.)

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Oregon Domestic Partnerships Challenged

Check it out, folks. Two of Oregon's finest (Oregon State Republican Senator Fred Girod and Republican State Representative Sal Esquivel) have filed an initiative to repeal Oregon's brand new Domestic Partnership law (went into effect on February 4 and 1,300 couples have registered statewide). I don't think I can come up with adequate adjectives to express my disgust, sadness, and -- yes -- even some hatred. Suffice it to say that I've been on this website already nosing around. You'll find two sections of articles from Blue Oregon and Basic Rights Oregon. The odd part of this whole deal is that Measure 36 (the Oregon law that defines marriage as one man and one woman) still stands. It doesn't change that law at all. They got what they want! And at that time, they had this to say to we homosexuals:

"Same-sex couples should seek marriage-like rights through another avenue, such as civil unions."-- Tim Nashif, Oregon Family Council Director and an organizer of the Measure 36 campaign, Bend Bulletin 8/20/2004

"If same-sex couples need legal protection, they should consult their legislative representatives. If they need legislation to do that, no one is going to stand in their way."-- Defense of Marriage Coalition Executive Director Mike White, Lincoln City News Guard 11/10/2004

"The Coalition's amendment did not preclude the state of Oregon from creating civil unions, so that same-sex couples could have the same rights as married heterosexual couples."-- Defense of Marriage Coalition Spokesperson Georgene Rice, The Dalles Chronicle 9/30/2004

So, we went about getting the Oregon Family Fairness Act passed. And they just don't like it. Just like kids on the playground, the pouting has started. My only consolation is that I believe the god they claim to serve wouldn't have a thing to do with them. Oh, their day of reckoning is coming -- and I'm afraid that it's not going to happen how they think it will. I think that Matthew 25 calls it the separation of sheep and goats.
I have included links to both of the lawmaker's websites above by clicking on their names. They need to hear from you. Please.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Sharp Knives Do, Indeed, Cut Well

New March 2008 Audio Greeting Now Available .... Upper Left-Hand Corner!
In spite of a great weekend with Dave from Blogography, I ended up nearly slicing off my thumb last night. I'm on the way to the doctor this morning to get it bandaged properly. You'll remember that I got a brand new, very sharp, knife set for Christmas. Let it suffice to say that it does, indeed, work well. There was one hell of a lot of blood leaving my body last night as I was preparing a yummy, delicious dinner (which hubby had to finish up for me while I suspended my hand up in the air above my heart level). I had grilled whole red and orange peppers on the grills -- charring them just slightly and leaving them with that smoky taste. I was stuffing them with: potato (microwaved first), onion (sauteed in the skillet first), cheddar cheese, breadcrumbs, drop of V-8 juice, brown lentils (boil for 30-40 minutes first), dried apricot, chopped almonds, paprika, and cumin. Baked 40 minutes after the stuffing. The salad was going to be: avocado, orange, cherry tomatoes, red onion (that's when the trouble all began with the knife taking off the end of my thumb and the nail too).
Check out a few of my photo sets that have new pictures in them:
Sauvie Island (including amazing shots of Mt. St. Helens and Mt. Hood)
Seattle-Vancouver Trip
Late winter is well under way here. Daffodils and crocus are blooming, forsythia starting, and pink and white flowering cherry trees. I do have to say, Portland is the place to be in the springtime. We'll be adding azalea and rhododendron to the mix in April and May. It's quite a show.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Death Defying Moments

So, have you heard the one about the closeted homosexual who nearly dropped the dead lady on the floor of the morgue? Or how about the skinny white dude who saved the other dead lady from being upended in the elevator while trying to get her up to the waiting van? My, I do have a sorted past. For some reason, back in my earlier quite tender and impressionable years, I ended up having three pretty close friends who all just happened to be undertakers. It's definitely a 24-hour-a-day job. So, if I ever wanted to spend any time with them, I'd have to go with them on "calls" to pick up a body from a house/hospital/nursing home, take it to the funeral home, sometimes sit around making small talk while the embalming was done, and then we'd go have a taco or Big Gulp to round out the evening.

One evening, I was helping a male nurse's aide take an older woman who had died from the emergency room down to the morgue. We were then suppose to transfer her from the emergency room gurney onto the table in the morgue. I'm not sure how many of you have been in a morgue, but there are large stainless steel trays that the bodies rest on. They are not fixed to the tables but are designed to be moved. So, we were lifting up the lady who was wrapped up in a sheet and gave the "1-2-3 Lift!" count. The only problem is that we didn't lift her up quite high enough to clear the edge of the stainless steel tray and knocked that sucker to the ground. I don't know how much the trays weigh, but it's definitely enough to make one of the loudest crashes in history. Meanwhile, we've got said woman wrapped in the sheet and suspended in midair waiting...waiting....waiting..... and then we start laughing. Which does nothing to help concentrate our efforts to get her back to the starting position. It was terrible. Terribly funny, I'm afraid. In a pretty twisted sort of way.

Another evening, we were in the basement morgue of a different hospital and ready to take this dead woman up the elevator to the waiting van for transporting. We roll the gurney into the elevator and I run upstairs to the floor above and press the "up" button to bring her up. Meanwhile, my undertaker friend is down below closing the door behind her and then suppose to come upstairs. The elevator starts moving up and things were progressing nicely until we discovered that the gurney has been pushed just a little too far into the elevator and the end of it has caught on a non-movable, permanent piece of metal. So, one end of the gurney is continuing its upward climb while the opposite end of the gurney is stationary and not moving at all. The poor woman was being upended into a vertical position! So, I yell "Hey, we've got a problem....stop!" An understatement, I know. We lower it back down, fix the issue, and proceed as schedule. And guess who couldn't stop laughing again?

I guess I could continue into Embalming 101 here, but I think we'll save that exciting episode for another time.